Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oracle APEX Application Migration Workshop is now on OTN!

While the road to release has not been as smooth as I would have liked (down to me in parts :-) ) , we have finally published the early adopter version on OTN.

We very much welcome your feedback on it. Our plans is to have this as a standard feature of Oracle APEX 3.0, so you have the chance of your feedback making a difference in the final product in a short timeframe. I look forward to receving your feedback and making the product better because of it.

You will find more details about it here.

Enjoy, Donal

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Design Goals for the Oracle APEX Application Migration Workshop

We are in the home stretch now, to make the early adopter version of the Oracle APEX Application Migration Workshop available on OTN. We have released some more information about it on OTN and have created a new OTN forum to host discussions about migration from Microsoft Access to Oracle Application Express.

I thought it would be an opportune time, to outline some of our design goals behind this development. Firstly, we want to promote Database Refactoring, once you have gotten your schema and data migrated using the Oracle Migration Workbench. The better your Data Model is, the easier it will be to create good Oracle APEX applications. Currently we identify tables without primary or foreign keys and also promote the usage of UI defaults, a feature of Oracle APEX. We hope to expand on this in the future, based on feedback. A possibility could be to identify tables that could be leveraged as List of Values (LOV's) or try to identify incorrect usage of data types, e.g. dates being stored as varchar.

Our approach is one of Design Recovery. We want to provide as much information about the original Access Application that we could recover from the Access mdb file. We have taken a workshop approach, to provide the developer a productive environment to decide what Access objects they are interested in and should be in scope. You deal with any errors reported, so additional objects can also be included. By default all Access objects which we analyze and determine are valid are included in the scope your migration project by default.

Our goal is to only generate a native Oracle APEX application. We are not interested in emulating unique Access functionality. Access Applications could be classed as "rich client" applications whereas Oracle APEX applications are Web (Browser) based. It's a different UI paradigm, and this needs to be respected if you are to create, intuitive and useful applications. We don't migrate any VBA code, but we will show you the VBA code contained in your modules. You could then determine if this logic is still necessary and if so, could be reimplemented as PL/SQL procedures/functions.

We can generate either an application based on selected Access Forms or Reports or generate a maintenance style application which is a Report and a Form on each selected Tables and Views.
Our application generation leverages the Application Model behind the create application wizard.

I am looking forward to feedback on this new feature of Oracle APEX. I believe we have built a good foundation, to address additional feature requests we might receive. With input from the community we can ensure that the Application Migration Workshop increases the productivity of developers who seek to migrate Access applications to Oracle APEX, when it becomes a standard feature of Oracle APEX 3.0

Now back to the last round of testing...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Database Tools Talks at UKOUG next week

Next week I'll be in Birmingham at the UK Oracle User Group Conference. I am looking forward to it, as it gives me another opportunity to talk about our new tools. This year, I think the database tools team is well represented.

Mike Hichwa, VP of Database Tools (main architect behind Oracle Application Express & my boss!) will be giving a presentation on Thursday morning @ 9am titled - An Insight into SQL Developer and Application Express

Sue Harper, PM for SQL Developer is giving a presentation on Wednesday on SQL Developer: Using Oracle's Graphical Database Development Tool. As you probably know by now, we have released an evaluation copy of SQL Developer 1.1 on OTN, so I am sure Sue will cover all the new cool features in 1.1 and answer any questions you might have.

Alex Keh, a PM whose focus is on our windows technologies is giving a presentation on Tuesday about .NET and Oracle Best Practices: Performance, Deployment and PL/SQL Tips. So if your preferred development environment is .NET be sure to attend his talk. I think we do a lot to make a .NET developers experience productive with Oracle database technology.

For myself, lucky me has 3 presentations!

On Tuesday I will be talking about: End the Microsoft Access Chaos - Your simplified path to Oracle Application Express. I will be demoing our new Oracle APEX Application Migration Workshop. This should also be making an appearance on OTN real soon...

Then on Thursday, I have two presentations: Oracle Application Express: Features, Futures and Customer Tales In this presentation, I give a brief overview of Application Express, What's in 2.2, what's coming in 3.0 and some demos and finally Oracle Migration Workbench: Taking Database migration to the next level where I will demo the new Oracle Migration Workbench integrated into SQL Developer. This should be making an appearance on OTN in 2007.

I am also looking forward to hearing customer feedback at the Oracle Development Tools Roundtable on Wednesday afternoon.

Having had a look at the agenda there are many talks which I want to attend. Looks like it is going to be a good week. Now to put the finishing touches to my presentations...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I won't get much work done this weekend....

Not a work related post, but...

I was asked by the Porsche club of Ireland (of which I am a member) would I be willing to write a car review for their newsletter as the Irish Porsche dealership offered them a car for the weekend. I could pick what I wanted, so I went for a 997 C4S manual.

In the picture is my son Daragh, and Alan from the Porsche dealership. In Ireland cars have high taxes , so this car costs €160K/$203K.... The car is on my insurance, so I have to be careful :-)

I had promised Julie I would sort out the garden this weekend and deal with all the leaves, sorry not this weekend!

Friday, October 27, 2006

All the migration demos worked!

Well that's another Oracle Open World over... This year was a lot of fun being able to preview our new migration tools: Oracle Migration Workbench integrated into SQL Developer and a new feature of Oracle APEX, the Application Migration Workshop, for Microsoft Access application migration to Oracle APEX. Below is a picture of me standing by our demo pod...

The migration workbench demo, we got finally working about an hour before my presentation. Barry and I got a code drop from the guys back in Dublin that morning and we sat on bean bags in the hall between Moscone North and South, while a long queue of attendees filed in for Chuck Rozwat Keynote ensuring that everything worked as predicted. When I gave the presentation later that morning, everybody seemed to like it at lot.

Both Barry and I did lots of demos to attendees and it was very satisfying to get positive feedback on what we as a team have been working so hard on. We have definitely taken the right approach and need to keep focused to deliver a high quality solution in 2007.

On my laptop I had a pre-release of with Oracle APEX 2.2.1 locally. I had this configured using EPG (Embedded Pl/SQL gateway) which I think is cool, so no Apache, everything just running out of the database. This is the same setup as the Oracle Express Edition. I'll blog next week on the steps required for this setup.

My next focus will be to get an early adopters release of the Oracle APEX Application Migration Workshop available. We will post more information about it on OTN next week, and I'll blog about the design goals I had when designing this new feature of Oracle APEX.

I'm looking forward to going home now and being back with my family, it has been a long trip and I never seem to sleep great, when I'm on the west coast...

On a lunch break I did make a trip to the Virign Megastore, where my CD collection was added to...

  • The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi battles the pink Robots in 5.1
  • Ray Lamontagne - Till the sun turns black
  • The Killers - Sam's Town
  • John Legand - Once Again

Friday, October 20, 2006

Oracle Open World is nearly here again....

Well it looks like it is going to be the largest Oracle Open World ever.... It will be a busy week. The whole team have been working very hard, many long nights getting our new tools ready to preview next week. I will be giving a presentation on Monday 23rd @ 10:45

Session title: Oracle Migration Workbench: Taking Database Migration to the Next Level
Track: Database Application Development
Room: Franciscan Room C - Hilton Hotel

I will be giving a preview of our new Oracle Migration Workbench and Oracle APEX Application Migration Workshop (for Access Application Migration). I'll post more information after Monday.

Along with Barry McGillin, development manager for the Migration Workbench, we will be on the Database Demogrounds in Moscone West (Demo pod D44) Drop by and say hello and see a demo of our new tools

Now, back to getting my presentation finished and getting my laptop ready for demos...

A picture paints a thousand words...

I was looking for a good picture of me on my laptop, though I have a number I don't think any of them are suitable, so I will just have to go with this for now. Do you know what it is...

Well... Let's kick this blog off then...


As you can see from my profile I have worked for Oracle for over 14 years...
I work in the the database tools group part of our Server Technologies Division. My major focus area for nearly 10 years has been on migration tools, making it easy to migrate 3rd party databases to Oracle. Though, being part of the database tools group I am lucky enough to be able to contribute to SQL Developer & Application Express. So expect posts on happenings in Database Tools which I hope will be of interest to Oracle Database Developers everywhere